Date Published: 10/28/09
Soludo Should Arrest His Dream By Peter Claver Oparah
For certain reasons, I had refrained from commenting on the job Charles Soludo did as the Central Bank Governor. Even as I disagreed with most of his policies, I refrained from doing so openly for some reasons that had to do with Soludo’s own position in the power radar of the government he served. For his acclaimed brilliance and savvy, I believed that Soludo was merely a fringe participant in the Obasanjo government. I also believed that he tried his best to imbue some level of credibility to that regime. But then, he was merely a hireling doing his job for his principal. To tell the truth, I was never persuaded by the showy manner Soludo went about his duties. But then, he was merely living up to the unwritten creed of that regime that placed so much emphasis on self-glorification and substituting same for stellar performance.
I never saw the genius in the so-called consolidation and I am not saying so with the unraveling of the myriads of dirty underhand dealings that encased this economic policy. I made my views known to some of my friends that the consolidation policy did not come with any creative back-up and decreeing that banks must either raise a certain amount of money or close shop does not address some of the fundamental shrifts that had consistently dealt the sector a bad nose. Again, who says that banks must be huge to a pre-determined size before they can perform their traditional tasks creditably? I even told one of my friends, who was a Soludo enthusiast that the new capital base imposed on the banks could easily be shredded by unscrupulous bank officials and their allies in a wink but that the challenge lies in ensuring several critical steps; deal with the greed of bank officials, increase the capacity of the banks to attend to the vital but abandoned real sector and plug all loopholes that aid and abet the many misdeamonours the Nigerian banks are noted for.
None of these was done, rather an effusive celebration of the newfound size, which would have been a means to an end, was passed as an end in itself and that is why we are where we are today. So far, Solodu has offered the nation no insight on why the bizarre decimation of poor peoples’ life earnings by the economic buccaneers that milled around him and the government he served happened. To most Nigerians, and they have a great point, such reckless plunder couldn’t have happened under the advertised genius, which Soludo reveled in as his tenure as the nation’s apex banker lasted. It was either that his genius was a ruse or he was complicit in the great razing of Nigerian banks.
I found it real hard to tag along with Soludo’s ill-fated redenomination of the currency. I wondered why he was shy of telling Nigerians that the market forces had failed to determine the real rate of the Naira and that he needed to lend some hands to make the Naira stronger. I was taken aback by his foreign exchange policy that saw the Naira gain tremendously against major currencies of the world while the prices of locally denominated goods and services raced up to uncontrollable heights. As a lay man, I failed to understand Soludo free mouthing of the great prospects that awaited our doomed and clobbered economy under an unceasing infrastructural decay and an intractable corruption binge. There are so many others of such promises and readings that were never supported by the realistic facts on the ground. The fact that life worsened in these much celebrated economic miracle went to ultimately prove my fears that, as proved so obsessive in the Obasanjo regime, Soludo was merely sexing up figures to show off a dandy image of a whizz kid. I shall leave all these to a dawning future to judge but the jury are already warming up for what transpired during Soludo era and may be out before he realizes his dream to rule Anambra.
But three things made me pen this article and all are related to Soludo’s new status as a politician. The first was the shocking discovery that our dear Soludo, a man that passed himself off as one of the Obasanjo technocrats the country needed more than itself, smuggled himself into the PDP and was covertly eyeing the Anambra governorship should his determined effort to succeed himself as CBN governor fail. So, while technocrat Soludo was busy mouthing economic platitudes, he was also one of the cavorting mass of PDP activists under whose jackboot the country was mashed in ten years of unmitigated pestilence. So technocrat Soludo transmogrified into Politician Soludo while still eyeing an encore as CBN governor! Two was that Soludo, once he transformed into a politician of the PDP genre, went shopping for a godfather and found one in an ageing jobbing father who has been rusticated in his native Edo State. He trusted so much in the brute and carnal powers of this inglorious fixer to take over Anambra State.
Three was a picture, which someone circulated in an internet chat group recently. In the picture, politician Soludo was raising a hand of solidarity and guarded by what could pass for a platoon of the allied force and he was grinning happily in the picture. I almost threw up because that signaled the complete transfiguration of a Soludo, who once sought to make us believe that he recruited into the thieving Obasanjo cabal because of his economic brilliance. I had to strain my eyes to properly grasp the ruddy fact that I was seeing Prof, Charles Soludo and not a certain former car washer, Chris Uba.
It was this last fact that made my patience to tolerate Soludo’s self-propelled gaiety to snap hence this article. I know that in deciding to indulge the game of politics and by deciding to enlist in the brood of vipers called PDP, Soludo willingly offered his head to the guillotine and is prepared for what comes thereafter. Having enlisted a remorseless electoral fraudster as a god father, he threw away every pretension that he was indulging in a sane game and that he was ready to stand alone as Peter Obi and claim what he feels should belong to him. That marked his first failure as Soludo the politician. That was why he enlisted in the PDP even while he was behaving like a technocrat and when he was warming a critical and sensitive position that needed high level of restraint on political issues. It was the reason why he now moves in a nauseating company of armed ghouls and riff raffs and sees nothing wrong with that. That is why he had not told the nation of what became of his dream of going to the World Bank and IMF after he was eased off as CDN governor and why the murky terrains of Anambra has become his destination point after his CBN experience.
In advising against a Soludo ambition, I am not attacking the messy manner he emerged. If we remember that Soludo is in PDP, we may have no reason to quarrel with his manner of emergence. To the PDP, the more smelly; the better. This is a cabal that flowers most in anti-democratic conducts and ethos. The party, or is it rally, has in ten years of unmitigated assault on democracy, shown that it is so impervious to democratic principles. Having freely chosen to become a member of the PDP, it is natural to suggest that Soludo is a full subscriber to the anti-democratic tendencies that luxuriate PDP’s corrupt growth. He gained his full reward for this faith by the manner he was smuggled in as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Anambra State. This does not in anyway affect the fact that technically, PDP had no candidate when the deadline given to parties to submit their candidates expired so Soludo’s candidacy on that front, suffers so many deficits.
So having decided to enter the murky race for Anambra governorship, Soludo should be ready to face a flurry of public excoriation for his actions, especially in the banking sector where huge debris that happened under his studios watch is being uncovered. It is a pity he elected this time to stake a claim for the governorship of Anambra. For whatever he thinks is his strong point in the race, the timing is awful. He shouldn’t have allowed his ambition to clash with the unraveling of the gargantuan rot he sat over as CBN governor, which succeeded in looting the lifeline of most Nigerians to enrich a few cabals. But having chosen to join the fray, Soludo should be ready for full inquisition on how he supervised the banking sector when the sector was subjected to plundering by remorseless economic predators. He should be ready to tell Nigerians what he knew of that sleaze. Many feel that in a normal country, he should be behind bars, squealing of what he knew of that reckless plunder. He should consider himself lucky that he is rather dreaming of packing into a state government house and seems to have gotten the assurance and support of those who should censure him for his new ambition. Many are of the opinion is that he is seeking immunity from prosecution for his roles in the banking scandal by seeking to become governor of Anambra State. But he must not think it will be a tea party and he must be ready to face the people who were swindled by the banking fraud he superintended.
I must state however that Anambra does not need a Soludo or anybody that subscribes to the kind of political belief that has so far fired his candidacy. How he had carried on so far indicates clearly that Soludo does not have the sanity of mind and decency of a Peter Obi to release the state from the enervating grips of reckless ruffians who are either masquerading as god fathers or stakeholders. There is every indication that Soludo, despite his pretensions is not averse to taking Anambra back to the state of nature where Peter Obi has succeeded in installing sanity and decency. If Soludo still feels that he must get an expired godfather to force him on Anambra or that he needs to gallivant around Anambra in company of a platoon of soldiers, he had only shown that he doesn’t deserve to be Anambra governor at this time. His role in the banking saga just confirms the fact that he cannot take Anambra to any level so I counsel he quits the scene and finds something better to do.
Peter Claver Oparah.